Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

It is troubling when you encounter local residents who are not familiar with their local candidates or know that next Tuesday is Election Day. 

It reinforces the data that only one in three eligible voters actually vote in municipal elections. To some, the municipal elections are less significant than state and federal elections, and yet so much of our daily lives are impacted by decisions made by local officials.

These public servants, mostly volunteers, are tasked with issues that affect residents of all ages in our local towns. These issues may include affordable housing and land use, infrastructure, transportation and road maintenance, the environment and waste management, public health and safety, funding for the local library, fire department or senior center, and of course, education of the young, and property taxes.

Our public officials are the folks who determine policy, plan the town budget, and provide routine and emergency management.

The municipal elections provide us with the opportunity to elect candidates who will be our voice and advocate for the issues of most concern to us. For example, the local school board is the link between the classroom and the community. Board members set policies about how and what students learn, determine curriculum, and prepare budgets. A school board member will also decide on funding for sports, music and art, and after-school programs. They establish guidelines for teachers and other personnel, as well as make hiring decisions for school and district administrators.

The candidates we vote for will have an extraordinary impact on our daily lives. Learn who they are and how they will contribute to better town governance. Leadership matters.

Your vote is your voice, and your voice is essential to effective municipal management. VOTE on November 7! It is democracy in action.

Claire Walsh of Killingworth is Chair of DEMOCRACY Women In Action.